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Lil Nas X isn’t a mustache-twirling bad guy with a soft feline friend on the arm of his chair, staring at a giant globe on the screen, surrounded by minions in lab coats, cackling at the prospect of taking over the entire world. That isn’t his shtick. Instead, he’s an ad hologram (a la Blade Runner 2049), a dance teacher for humanoid robots, and a reckless airborne acrobat that likes to get his groove on even while standing on flying airplanes.
He’s all of these things at the same time, nearly omniscient, in his new video for “Panini” that gives viewers a glimpse at what a future ruled by “Old Town Road” remixes looks like through the eyes of actress Skai Jackson. Lil Nas X is everywhere.
You have to give it to Lil Nas X; if he’s really the evil ruler of this beautiful futuristic metropolis, he’s got an awesome sense of style. Neon lights tattoo the sky different shades of scorching pink, searing green, and icy blue. Living here is Jackson, who we see is absolutely sick of seeing Lil Nas X’s mug everywhere that she goes. He’s in one ad wearing Beats headphones and in another promoting his brand of car. He’s even brought TikTok to the future.
As she walks through the bright town at night, she’s ambushed by a Lil Nas X hologram that performs “Panini,” much to her disdain. She runs to an Uber where Lil Nas X is playing in there as well. She just can’t escape!
It just happens to be that the real Lil Nas X is located nearby, performing the futuristic, whistling tune with a group of rhythmic robots. Jackson exits the Uber and sees this and has had enough; she can escape him by going to another country! When she boards a plane, she looks to the wing and finds… you guessed it. Lil Nas X is defying gravity, dancing on the edge of the plane’s wing without a care in the world. Once she lands and is surrounded by holographic plants, she finally smiles, having found peace.
It’s an awesome and hilarious touch that Lil Nas X is the villain in his own video. Maybe it has a sinister connotation: We can NEVER escape Lil Nas X. NEVER.
Watch the video for “Panini” — which Lil Nas X previewed with an equally futuristic and choreographed neon performance at the 2019 VMAs last month — up above.